This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne, also known as Sam Minter. In addition to the blog below, be sure to check out the other sections of the site above and to the left! IM me on AIM as Abulsme or email me at Comments are always appreciated! Thanks!


If you came here from a link on another site, chances are high you are looking for the Electoral College Prediction page.

Sun 31 Aug 2003

2003 Q3 Random Vacation - Day 0

Day 0 is now posted. Enjoy.

2003 Q3 Random Vacation - Day 0

Then they started boarding.  Marilyn was not back.  Almost the whole plane boarded.  Just a few people left.  I was anxiously looking for Marilyn.  We were going to miss our plane!!

Then, out of the mist, doing her best OJ Simpson...  no, not the knife thing, the running through the airport thing...

Abulsme - Sun, 31 Aug 2003, 09:11:07 PDT - Personal
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Fri 29 Aug 2003

July 2003 Top Ten

The new monthly top ten email list is out. Woo!

July 2003 Top Ten

Email volume was WAY up in July compared to June. People must have really been bored. :-) Lets see, what interesting things happened? Kelly continues her downward slide in email volume and actually drops of the list this month. Marilyn, despite letting her quota fill up multiple times, puts in what in some months would be a decent performance, but isn't quite enough to make it this time.

Abulsme - Fri, 29 Aug 2003, 10:39:44 PDT - Personal
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Day Negative One

Day Zero of the 2003 Q3 random trip will begin in about 9 hours. I am of course not ready yet. I will be leaving work early (shortly) since I have completed everything I really need to complete before leaving on vacation. Then I will scramble this afternoon to get done a bunch of things I have been putting off all week, but need to get done before leaving. Bills first and foremost, so I know how much money I have, or don't have, for the vacation. But also a couple email top ten related things, and UNpacking some things, since I need to take some things wiht me on vacation that are currently packed away in boxes. Problem is, I have no idea which boxes. Oops. I may also go shopping real quick for some camping supplies. Dunno. We'll see how things go.

Anyway, once on the random trip, I probably won't blog much. I intend to put out a blog entry whenever I add a new "Day" to the trip log. I try to get them up just a day or two after they actually happen, but realistically... last time it took me about three months to complete the vacation website. I don't plan on letting that happen again, but it isn't going to be real time or anything. And I probably won't put up many (if any) entries on other topics.

Maybe sometime after I get back from vacation and the vacation is fully posted, I will start blogging on other topics, like, you know, the news.

Oh yeah, one more thing, from what I've been hearing through the grapevine, it is highly likely that I (and all people of my rank who used to but no longer have actual formal teams reporting to them) will lose our offices and be put into cubes when we move to a new space around October. Lovely. Whatever. I wonder if there are comapnies looking to hire closer to my new house. :-)

Abulsme - Fri, 29 Aug 2003, 08:04:03 PDT - Personal
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Thu 28 Aug 2003

Burger Overdose

And people get on me for occationally haveing a "Triple" at Wendy's. Get a load of this guy.

Jared eats a 16 patty cheeseburger

Makes me want to never eat a burger again! Hmmm... or maybe I'll pick up one of those triples from Wendy's on the way home tonight. Yum!

(via BuzzMachine)

Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2003, 13:11:46 PDT - Fun
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Goodbye Quail Ridge (Part 2)

Well, this was it. The couple from "Excellent Cleaning" came over one last time. They did a final once over of everything and vacuumed and scrubbed everything down. Even some things I wouldn't have thought of cleaning.

Then after they were gone, I stood there for a bit, and looked at my old apartment to say goodbye. I went through every room, thinking about things that had happened there over the years. It was sad. And yes, I teared up a little. OK, the place wasn't much. Just basic housing. But it had been home for almost seven years. Sniff.

I locked the door one last time, went to the leasing office, turned in the keys and headed out. One last stop at the post office to return the mailbox keys, and that was that. I am no longer a Quail Ridge resident.

Of course, I still have to pay rent for two more months. But that's how these things go when you leave before the end of your lease. Oh well!

So now I think I'm 100% Yardlean. Or however you say a person from Yardley. Or Lower Makefield. Or whatever. :-)

Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2003, 10:54:50 PDT - Personal
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Wed 27 Aug 2003

Traveling Mom

Following up trips in the past few years to Mozambique, Thailand and Sri Lanka, my mom is at it again...

Hi - am negotiating with my church but I may be making another almost-free trip! Just got a request that I join a small women's delegation to Colombia in October - five days only - to visit "women's empowerment projects" - I THINK it will work out to go but it means with previous commitments that I would only preach in church every other Sunday for six weeks - here three, gone three - so I really need some approval before I accept! Would have to pay my own way to Miami but the rest would be paid from the Latin America office of Global Ministries. I suspect we would be mainly in Bogota - which I last saw for only 3 days in 1969 (I think!)
I am jealous of some of these trips, they sound like a great deal of fun and would be very interesting and educational. Perhaps one day my random trips will expand to take me to some places of that sort. Although I must admit, that would really stretch my comfort zone! But that can't be a bad thing, right?

On my random trips I *do* exclude places with current State Department Travel Warnings though. My mom appearantly does not. There is indeed a Current Warning for Columbia:
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Colombia. Terrorist and criminal violence by narcotraffickers, guerrillas, illegal self-defense (paramilitary) groups and other criminal elements continues to affect all parts of the country, urban and rural. Citizens of the United States and other countries continue to be the victims of threats, kidnappings, domestic airline hijackings and murders. Threats targeting official and long-term resident Americans are expected to continue and possibly increase in response to U.S. support for Colombian drug eradication programs. Colombian groups have been known to operate in the border areas of neighboring countries, creating similar dangers for travelers in those areas. Bombings have occurred throughout Colombia, including a steady recent rise in attacks on civilian targets in urban areas. This trend shows no sign of abating in the near future, and some foreign interests have been among the targets. ... There is a greater risk of being kidnapped in Colombia than in any other country in the world. In the past three years, 26 Americans were reported kidnapped in various parts of the country. American kidnap or murder victims have included journalists, missionaries, scientists, human rights workers, U.S. government employees and businesspeople, as well as persons on tourism or family visits, and even small children.

Well, I'm sure my mom will enjoy it. :-)

Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2003, 19:19:15 PDT - Personal
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Tue 26 Aug 2003

Graph Data Wanted

I am working on a graph and analysis I think will be interesting to quantify the oft repeated but infrequently quantified statements about taller candidates winning more often in presidential races. I have a lot of data already, but for completeness I still need the heights of a bunch of losing presidential candidates of the past. If anybody out there has this information (and a URL or reference to document it) or just has pointers on where to look, I would much appreciate it.

With a little googling I was able to quickly find the heights of all the top two electoral vote getters for every election since 1788, EXCEPT these guys:

1800 - Aaron Burr (Democratic-Republican)
1804 - Charles Pinckney (Federalist)
1808 - Charles Pinckney (Federalist)
1812 - DeWitt Clinton (Federalist)
1816 - Rufus King (Federalist)
1832 - Henry Clay (National Republican)
1844 - Henry Clay (Whig)
1848 - Lewis Cass (Democrat)
1852 - Winfield Scott (Whig)
1856 - John Fremont (Republican)
1860 - John Breckenridge (Southern Democrat)
1868 - Horatio Seymour (Democrat)
1872 - Horace Greeley (Democrat)
1876 - Samuel Tilden (Democrat)
1880 - Winfield Hancock (Democrat)
1884 - James Blaine (Republican)
1904 - Alton Parker (Democrat)
1916 - Charles Hughes (Republican)
1920 - James Cox (Democrat)
1924 - John Davis (Democrat)
1928 - Alfred Smith (Democrat)
1936 - Alfred Landon (Republican)
1940 - Wendell Willkie (Republican)
1952 - Adlai Stevenson (Democrat)
1956 - Adlai Stevenson (Democrat)
1964 - Barry Goldwater (Republican)
1968 - Hubert Humphrey (Democrat)
1972 - George McGovern (Democrat)
1984 - Walter Mondale (Democrat)

OK, that is a lot I still haven't found. Finding the heights of the people who won and became president was easy. Unless the height was unusual though, finding heights for the losers is harder. I may do a bit more google hunting, but I am suspecting a trip to a dusty old library to find out of print biographies or contemporary reports on some of these people may be needed.

Right now with the data I do have, the "taller usually wins" thing is definately holding up, with the effect being much stronger in the 20th century than the 19th. In addition, there seems to be a correlation (albiet a very weak one and possibly not significant) that the greater the height difference, the larger the margin of victory. Effects can be seen both looking at popular vote results, and electoral college results. Very interesting.

However at this point I only have complete height data for 25 out of 54 elections.

That's less than half. So the trends I am seeing in the graphs may completely go away and turn into something else entirely based on the remaining data. So I'm not ready to show any graphs or actually draw any conclusions until I have more data.

Anyway, this is fun stuff. I've kept hearing the "taller wins" story for years, but never seen the data to back it up, and I've searched for it on the web multiple times before. I'm sure the research has been done before, what I am doing here is not original, but I guess it just hasn't been put up on the web, or perhaps I just haven't been using the right search terms to find it.

Since I couldn't find the info on the web or any actual statistical analysis, I thought I would do it myself.

But getting the heights of some of these famous at the time but now completely obscure people from the 1800's, egads! Not to mention even people still around like Walter Mondale. I would have thought his height would have just popped up right away on a search, but NO. They have to make it hard! :-) On each I would try various google searches for about 10 minutes, then if I hadn't found a height I would move on. If I did find one, I'd document the source and get my data point. But like I said, some of these heights may take more than 10 minutes on Google to find!

Anyway, if anybody has some tips or info on the people above, please let me know!

Abulsme - Tue, 26 Aug 2003, 08:30:16 PDT - Fun
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Sun 24 Aug 2003

Connectivity Issues

So, Comcast finally, after about 24 hours, got my second IP working. Woo! I was excited. They left me a voice mail while I was at work. As soon as I got home I checked things out. Both computers could see the internet. Woo! The Internet could see both computers. Woo Two!

But... neither computer could see the other one. Which is kind of a big deal. I mean, one of the reasons I have this is to be able to easily share things between the two machines, run a print server, all sorts of other things. Not to mention being able to update my site.

I emailed Greg and Chris for advice. Greg was stumped. Chris hasn't answered yet. I did end up calling Comcast customer service and put in a ticket that was escallated to the next level of support.

I am suspecting though that this is intentional on their part though. Which would be a major PITA.

I could get only one IP from them and change to using a router to connect my two machines, but that would cause some other hassles.

Or, Greg suggested dumpinmg cable and switching to DSL. If Comcast doesn't let me do what I want (which by the way worked perfectly in NJ, which was also Comcast) then I may have to seriously consider that.

This sucks. I've actually had to dial up via my cellphone just to access things on the second computer downstairs from where I was sitting.

Not Happy.

Abulsme - Sun, 24 Aug 2003, 12:48:48 PDT - Personal
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Idaho Random Trip Update

I've updated the Idaho Random Trip page with where we will be staying while we are there. Hotels the first and last days, then a rented condo for the time in Ketchum. Seth will probably join us only three days. It will be me, Chad and Marilyn the rest of the time. We'll try to do the spot quest and camping while Seth is there with us.

In any case, if anybody decides at the last minute you want to join us, the info on how to find us is there. :-)

Abulsme - Sun, 24 Aug 2003, 12:44:34 PDT - Personal
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Thu 21 Aug 2003 is Home!

Well, a few hours ago I got home and plugged the G3 in. It started working fine pretty quickly. But then my other connection was dead. Looked like I had only one IP.

Now, at this point let me say I *know* I could just use a cheap hub, and run everything off one IP instead of paying a few bucks extra for a second IP. A little port forwarding and everything would be fine. But I *like* having seperate external addresses... so there.

Anyway, my first call to Comcast support said that my order for the second IP was in, but it had not been provisioned yet, and sometimes it takes a few hours. If it wasn't there in two hours, call again.

I called again in two hours, cause it still wasn't there. I could have either my Airport basestation online, or the G3, but not both. The woman ran me through some checks, had me reboot everything (I'd already done that a few times). But nothing. Plus, she said my modem wasn't reporting back properly. It reported back that it knew it was supposed to give out 2 IP's, but it also reported that NOBODY was connected to it, and one of my machines was happily on the net.

She said she would keep working on it, and would call me back later tonight if she had news, otherwise I should call again in the morning and reference the case number.

Oh well. I'm keeping online, not my laptop, so rather than doing email or anything, I think I'm going upstairs to watch TV.

Hopefully this will all be worked out quickly. :-)

Abulsme - Thu, 21 Aug 2003, 19:32:48 PDT - Personal
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Goodbye Quail Ridge

OK, in a few minutes will be going down, because I'll be unplugging the Power Macintosh G3 that currently runs it, and lugging it off to my new place in Yardley. The site will probably be down about 45 minutes. Chances are nobody will notice. :-)

But, in any case, this will be the LAST thing I am moving from the old apartment. Yes, even the rotting bowl of fruit that has been on my balcony for the last seven years is already packed upo in the car ready to go. So once I move this, the apartment will be empty except for small pieces of trash on the floor. The people I hire to clean the place every two weeks will come one last time next Tuesday, then I'll turn in the keys. After that, I will have to write a couple more checks to Quail Ridge because of their terms for breaking the lease early. So yeah, there are a couple last details.

But for all intents, once I unplug the computer I am typing on now, and shove it in my car and lock the door, I will be officially moved out of 1114 Quail Ridge Dr; Plainsboro NJ 08536. Woo!

Of course, I'm sure I'll post when I'm REALLY all done with all the administrative stuff too. :-)

OK. Time to shut down and unplug.

Abulsme - Thu, 21 Aug 2003, 15:27:11 PDT - Personal
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Google News Alerts

Oh yeah, since the day Google News launched I've wanted this...

Google News Alerts

Excellent. I'm off to set up a bunch of daily alerts on random things of interest to me. :-)

(via /usr/bin/geek/)

Abulsme - Thu, 21 Aug 2003, 14:10:02 PDT - Tech
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Wed 20 Aug 2003


I've been meaning to mention this for awhile, but just hadn't gotten to it. I unfortunately will be on the Idaho Random Trip when this happens, but the venue is less than a mile from my new place. I pass it every day on the way to work, and again on the way home. Shame I'll be missing Tito.

Tito Jackson to headline 9-11 "fun"raiser

Tito Jackson, who first made his name as a member of the famed Jackson 5 singing group and then later as a premier jazz and blues performer, will headline a concert at Shady Brook Farm over the Labor Day weekend to raise funds for the construction of the Lower Makefield Township's 9-11 memorial.

Abulsme - Wed, 20 Aug 2003, 06:44:30 PDT - Fun
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Tue 19 Aug 2003


Yesterday when I loaded a bunch of boxes from my old apartment into the Saturn to go to the new place, I apperantly unplugged the cable modem and router on the machine running, which is still at my old place for now. I didn't notice until early today. So here I am at lunch making a quick stop to plug everything back in again. is now back up again. Sorry for any inconvienance to my two regular readers. :-)

OK. While still on lunch break I need to run quick to the Yardley post office to see if I can get my new mailbox key. I had been getting mail in the new box, but they apperantly changed the keys on the mailboxes at both my old and new place yesterday... they are probably just now processing the change of address. Of course, I don't have proof of my new address with me, so they probably won't give me the key, but I can at least find out what I need to bring to get it.

Oh, and I have to buy a bunch more boxes too.

Off I go.

Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2003, 08:55:01 PDT - Personal
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Mon 18 Aug 2003

Josh Lewis Linked to Me!

Another blog found me and linked to me. My first inbound link from a blogger! How exciting! :-) He did a search of blogs located within 500 miles of NYC mentioning the blackout. I only mentioned it in passing while talking about me moving to PA, but still. Hmmm... that reminds me I have to update my GeoURL coordinates too...

Blogs at 11

When you combine it with a GeoURL listing (which I've mentioned earlier) of all the blogs within a 500-mile radius of New York City, for instance, you find quite a few blogs that report on the incident. Like this one. Or this one. That one. One over here. Here. Or here. Or there. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Portuguese! (With translation.)
He hasn't made my top referring site list yet though. Since I started adding the counter to my pages, the top 10 referring sites have been:

#1 (235)
#2 (113)
#3 (39)
#4 (19)
#5 (16)
#6 tie (8)
#6 tie (8)
#8 tie (6)
#8 tie (6)
#10 (5)

Almost all search engines. Of non search engines the top 5 are:

#1 (19) [Where I post occationally]
#2 (5) [My friend Ron's site]
#3 tie (4) [The Savvy Traveler story about me]
#3 tie (4) [Me clicking to my site from the stats]
#3 tie (4) [Reports recently changed blogs]

That only counts hits to the pages I have converted and added the counter too though. I still get a bunch of hits to pages that don't have the counter yet. Someday I'll get all of them, but lately I've been too busy moving.

Anyway, thanks for the link Josh. :-)

Hmmm... time to get back to work. I was trying to actually go all day without looking at any non work related sites for even a few minutes during a break. I didn't make it all day. Oh well. Break over now. Time to work up a tentative project plan for a project I'm involved in. They want it for Wednesday. I'm going to try to get it done today. We shall see.

Abulsme - Mon, 18 Aug 2003, 11:13:50 PDT - Personal
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Sun 17 Aug 2003


This is my one hundredth blog post. Yea! Well... including the sample post that came with the software. So I guess the next one will really be the #100. Well, good enough.

Anyway, didn't get a chance to post the last couple days. Marilyn flew out from Pittsburgh to see the new place and to help me with some packing / unpacking / decorating / organizing. Same sort of thing I'd been doing with Brandy since Monday afternoon.

I spent a bunch more money on a bunch of things. The amount I have spent on the house in the last week is nuts. I mean, I knew I would need a bunch of stuff, but... I have spent more time in Home Depot in the last week than I ever thought I could in a lifetime. And in Linens and Things.

And plus, as much as I hate to admit that Rebecca was right, my behavior seems to be changing too. Something drops on the floor and I pick it up and make sure it gets thrown away or put away right away. I slightly scarred a wall moving something, and I freak and go buy paint. I am going around evry couple hours and anything that is out of place is going back where it "belongs". I'm actually being pretty obsessive about it at the moment. Anything that I can't put in a "proper" place for whatever reason is going in the basement.

I even bought a few purely decorative objects that serve no practical purpose at all! There is something wrong with me! Where did I put Sam????

Oh well. I still have a lot to move and a lot to set up. For instance Marilyn and I bought curtains for the window in the loft room, but did not get a chance to put them up. And I need more storage things. And... well, lots of stuff. Not to mention lots and lots left to move from my old place and my stoage closet thing. Well, two more weeks until I have to be completely out of my old place.

Oh. Marilyn is on her way back home now. We got to the Trenton Airport for her to catch her flight home to Pittsburgh. First, the guy at the counter chewed us out for arriving too close to the scheduled time for the flight. It is a tiny airport, for a flight on a 10 person plane. So yes, we were cutting is a little close, but thought it was enough. And despite the guy bitching and being rude to us, it WOULD have been OK and she would have caught the flight... except... the canceled it! There had been two flights a day to Pittsburgh... until today. From now on, Sundays there will only be one flight to Pittsburgh from Trenton. They had switched her to the earlier flight, but hadn't bothered to actually call and tell her. That flight had left like 8 hours earlier.

Anyway, I was getting all prepared to drive Marilyn back to Pittsburgh, but with a few phone calls we got her switched to a later flight leaving from Philly, so I drove her down there and off she went. I'll see her again, along with Chad and Seth, in two weeks in Idaho. We also finalized some reservations for that today. I'll eventually update the website with that info. But probably not today.

Anyway, thanks to Marilyn for helping out this weekend, and to Brandy for helping out all week. Without the two of them I'd be a lot further behind in getting settled than I am!

Abulsme - Sun, 17 Aug 2003, 16:22:53 PDT - Personal
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Thu 14 Aug 2003

Still Have Lights Here!

While watching some news on the blackouts all over the Northeast, thought I'd give a quick update.

After the first fridge was too big, I found another that looked like it would BARELY fit. Well, this mornign as it was delivered, I discovered that while the top would fit, my counters are not straight. There was more room at the top than at the bottom. The thing just plain would not fit. I considered taking out the one cabinet componant, but then realized that if a new whole to the basement was drilled, I could put the fridge in another corner, and use that space for something else.

That turned out to be a bit of an adventure. Brandy came over, and has been a help all day long. Many trips to Home Depot ensued. A trip to get a drill. (Yes, Sam now owns a drill!) Then when the original piping crimped and leaked and wouldn't pull through back to the basement anyway, to get more pipe. Then more trips to get more supplies. Back and forth all day. In the end, the fridge was in and in place and working. Should have actual ice tomorrow!

Then it was time to mount the projector. But as I took the ladder up the stairs, I bashed it into a wall and dented the wall a bit and scraped off some paint. So to home depot again to get painting supplies. Got swatches. Back home to pick a color. Then back to Home depot to get paint. Then back home to spackle and paint the spots. Then let it dry.

(By the way, I must say, Brandy was doing all of that, I was all happy and doing stuff during the fridge capers, but once I hurt the wall I was all moping and depressed for awhile.)

Anwyay, it is now drying. Looks like not an exact match. So we'll have to go back to get enough paint and equipment to do the whole wall. It is close, but not close enough to just fix spots. It will have to be the whole wall. Oh well!

I'm in a better mood now though, blackouts have that mood lifting effect, so I'll be helping Brandy more rather than just taking advantage of her generosity. :-)

But I'm keeping the news on for a bit. Can't turn off breaking news! (Even though things look pretty settled and the power is starting to come back it seems.)

Anyway, glad I was in NYC yesterday instead of today!

Abulsme - Thu, 14 Aug 2003, 15:06:09 PDT - Personal
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Wed 13 Aug 2003


I didn't post yesterday, but all my furniture was moved. Yes! I have places to sit! Of course, nothing is in where it will probably go perminantly, and some of this stuff probably really should go away and be replaced, but it will do for now.

A few carloads of other stuff have also made it over. The first carload got put away in places that make sense mostly, with things I didn't have proper places to put or time to deal with and sort going to the basement. But at the end of the day yesterday, I was tired and there was still a carload in the car. I went to sleep.

And in the morning I had to get up for a meeting in NYC. I didn't have time to properly unpack the car, so I just dumped it all in the kitchen. Then on the way back from NYC I loaded up another carload.

So anyway, now it is time for me to work my way through the stuff that is already here and put it all away properly before getting any more loads.

I also got the stuff to staple the coax and other cords I have to run around to the walls in neat places instead of just having them all through the middle of everything like they are now. And I ordered the ceiling mount for the projector. So I have a bunch of work to do. I took a short nap when I got home, but now I should get started on that stuff I guess.


Oh, and the fridge will arrive between 7 and 9 AM tomorrow, so I have to get up early again. I really hope it fits. The size is pretty much exactly what the measured space is. In fact, might have to remove some of the side molding to make it fit. We shall see.

That's it for now. Guess I should get to work.

Abulsme - Wed, 13 Aug 2003, 15:48:15 PDT - Personal
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Mon 11 Aug 2003

I'm here!!!!

I'm in the new house now. It is mine. I may write a bit about closing later, or maybe not. But right now I have a bunch of stuff to do, but thought I would say I am here!

Abulsme - Mon, 11 Aug 2003, 10:07:07 PDT - Personal
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Time to Close

Gulp, this is it. Time for closing. Less than two hours away.

I've packed up the essentials (TV, Sat Dish, One Days Change of Clothes) and am about to head off (after grabbing the laptop) to meet Brandy to go over the papers one last time. Then, at 15:00 UTC, it will be time for the actual closing and signing the million pieces of paper people tell me about.

And then I will go *home* to the new house. Essentials get moved today. Furniture tomorrow. The rest slowly over the next two weeks as I feel like it. (But probably most stuff this week).

Wow. Well, here I go! My next post will be from the new place!

Abulsme - Mon, 11 Aug 2003, 06:07:41 PDT - Personal
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Sun 10 Aug 2003

Back to the Stone Age

My company, which will remain nameless here on my website, recently announced a change in policy. Got the annoucement last week. It made the news in various places later. I waited to comment here until after it took effect.

Effective 8 August, the ability to log on through the [company] network to e-mail accounts at third-party Internet service providers (ISPs) will be disabled. Employees, therefore, will not be able to log on to their third-party Internet accounts through the [company] network to send or receive e-mail. This policy also includes a ban on the use of Internet-based chat rooms, forums and bulletin boards from the [company] network.
What a crock and step backwards. They claim regulatory and virus security reasons, but both things could be handled without doing this sort of thing if they wanted to.

Of course, they haven't actually blocked MY mail, they haven't noticed the nice little server in Chris's basement I use for this stuff yet I guess. But I am thinking I better respect the policy anyway. They did block one of the internet forums I check regularly though. Grrr! Oh well, I shall live.

I'm thinking of more regularly taking my personal laptop into work and using the cellular connection to get to the net for that sort of stuff if I need it while at work, that way bypassing the corporate network entirely.

Abulsme - Sun, 10 Aug 2003, 14:55:18 PDT -
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Frigerator Blues

So the "final walk through" of the new place was yesterday. Measured the hole where the refrigerator will go. It is about three or four inches too small for the refrigerator I want. And in fact, it is about an inch to small for ANY of the cool refrigerators that were at the local Best Buy. I may end up having to go with a plain simple budget white normal refrigerator instead of one of the cool ones with the funky controls, blinking lights and ice makers and such. Just because the ones I actually want won't fit in the space without redoing the cabinets, which I am not about to do anytime in the next year. This makes me sad!

Oh well, It'll probably save me almost a grand though. More I can spend on other stuff. :-)

Sorry for only blogging about house stuff lately. I've been a little preoccupied with that sort of thing. :-)

Closing is now less than 24 hours away. Woo! Go me!

Tomorrow afternoon I start buying crap for the new place, and moving some of the essentials over.

Today I think I am going to relax, watch some TV, catch up on some email, and then MAYBE, if I feel like it, pack a couple boxes. :-)

Abulsme - Sun, 10 Aug 2003, 08:52:35 PDT - Personal
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Thu 07 Aug 2003

Things to Get

OK, so after work today, I went by the new place first, then went a few miles past to where the Best Buy, Home Depot, and a bunch of other stores were. I am getting into buying mode. There is a bunch of stuff I know I will need for the new place. Lots of it will be little stuff like new shower curtains and trash cans and curtains and stuff like that. And yeah, yeah... I know all that. But then there are the gadgety things that actually get me interested and ready to pull out my credit card.

So lets see, first, the place does not come with a refrigerator. So I guess I need one. I saw this one today. I think this is the one I want. There are higher end ones than this, but this one will do quite well:

Samsung RS2555SL
It has the ice maker and all that, and a funky little digital display. Samsung also makes ones that is all hooked to the internet and stuff and you can check your email on the screen on the front of your refrigerator. But you know, I'm a gadget freak and internet guy and all, but that is just stupid. (And BTW, Samsung's site is stupid too... won't let you link to their products, the URL times out and is specific to a given user... so I'm linking to Best Buy instead.)

OK, then the thing that actually has me all excited lately. Now, I know I don't NEED this, and I know after buying a house and all I really should not spend lots o' cash on something completely optional and frivolous. But damn it, I'm going to treat myself! The loft in the new place is where I'm going to set up a whole little home theater thing. It isn't really fully ideal for that. No full lighting control (it has windows), non-symmetrical for audio (the overlook to the living room) and such like that, but it will do for now. If I really get anal about that stuff in the future, I can build a "real" theater room in the basement. But for now this will be fine. I already have a DVD player I am happy with, and the DirecTivo for television, and I guess the VCR too, although I never use it. So that will be fine for inputs. Need a bigger display though. And a sound system and speakers. So here is what I'm thinking:

InFocus x1
Digital Projector that has been getting really good reviews all over the place in terms of value mainly. Nothing else comes close to the quality for the price apperantly. In order to get something significantly better than this model I'd have to pay more than twice as much, and I'm not going there. This will be more than enough for me for now. I'll need a ceiling mount for it too probably.

Panasonic SA-XR45S
I saw a cheaper model in the same line at Best Buy. Of the ones that seem to be comperable, this is the one that I liked the best in terms of how it looked. And this one has a couple more features than the one I actually saw in person at the same form factor, for not that much more. I don't know if the brick and mortar place has these in stock as well as the other model, but I'm sure I can get it online if not.

Sony SA-VE445H
Some middle of the pack speakers. I could spend less, I certainly could spend tons more. But these look like they will do the job, and look kinda decent visually. I'll probably have to get some speaker stands or whatever for them to sit on too, but I can deal with that sort of thing later and seperately. (Oh, and Sony's site is stupid too... also won't let me link directly, so I used a link to the first place that showed up on google for these.)

And that will take care of the whole home theater thing. (Well, that and some cables and such.) and I should also be able to hook my iPod and XM radio up to the mix as well just to be a complete media room.

Yeah, I know it is an excess, but it is something I'll be able to do in my new place, that I wasn't really able to do in this one. Well, I guess I could have, but...

Oh, and just for good measure, lets throw in one of these...

What new place could be complete without a robotic vacuum cleaner??? And yeah, I'll probably still be paying to have the place cleaned periodically, but ain't this cool? :-)

So anyway, I know I *should* wait until after the closing on Monday to get all this stuff, but I was really tempted to order the fridge today for delivery next week, and to grab the X1 that the Best Buy had in stock. They had plenty of Roombas too. But I refrained.

I am still being highly tempted to go ahead and order online the receiver and speakers though, cause I don't think the ones I wanted were visibly in stock in the places I went. Not saying I couldn't find someplace that they were, but... Anyway, we shall see.

Since I'm spending untold thousands on the house itself, I'm getting into major spend mode. I have to budget myself, I know. But I liquidated more stock options than I actually needed to for closing, precicely so I could do this sort of thing. So...

Abulsme - Thu, 7 Aug 2003, 18:09:10 PDT - Personal
Permalink and Comments [4 comments]

Closer and Closer

A couple hours ago I got the final closing costs estimate. I rounded up to the nearest thousand, and took a break from work to get a bank check for that amount. I now have the check in hand. I will also bring my checkbook and some cash to closing "just in case". But all should be set at this point. Final walk-thru is Saturday morning. Then Monday morning is closing. Monday afternoon, I'll be sitting in my new house!

Well, sitting on the floor in a completely empty house, but still! :-)

Abulsme - Thu, 7 Aug 2003, 13:33:24 PDT - Personal
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Tue 05 Aug 2003

Oops! Missed a day!

Oh well, it was bound to happen eventually. Just realized I missed a day and didn't post any comments on the 5th! A couple things came up that I saw or thought about while I was at work today, but I decided to not post while I was at work, and by the time I got home I forgot. Oops!

Well, that's OK, I'll find some fun and exciting things to post about today I'm sure.

Right now I'm catching up on email though. I got behind by almost a week as I was paying bills and getting some things together to be ready for closing on the house next week. I have packed two boxes. Somehow I think that won't be enough.

I exersized some stock options on Friday for closing costs and moving costs and some toys for right after I move. That transaction should close later today, at which time I'll do one more funds transfer, then get the cashier's check for closing.

Final walkthrough of the place is Saturday. This is getting close!

Abulsme - Tue, 5 Aug 2003, 18:58:13 PDT - Personal
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Mon 04 Aug 2003

One Week

Just realized that one week from today instead of sitting in my apartment, I should be sitting in my house. Woo! Getting close!

Um, I guess I should start packing.

Abulsme - Mon, 4 Aug 2003, 16:19:55 PDT - Personal
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Wedding Ticket

Saturday I went to Melanie from work's wedding. Nice wedding. Nice reception. However in the four block drive from the wedding to the reception I managed to get a ticket for almost running over a young woman in a crosswalk. Woops. You have to yield to pedestrians in Princeton, not the other way around. I knew that, but had forgotten, and completely deserved the ticket. I'm just glad I didn't actually hit her.

Ticket Number: N-040583
Lic. Plate No.: KAS95T
Defendant Name SAMUEL A MINTER
Vehicle Make SATU
Offense Number 39:4-36
Offense Date 08/02/2003
Offense Time 05:30 PM
Offense Location NASSAU ST/PSW

Penalty Amount $44.00

Pay by Date 08/25/2003
Paying online at the New Jersey Judiciary website right now... Looks like I also get "2 points". Drat. Oh well, like I said, I deserve it...

Abulsme - Mon, 4 Aug 2003, 11:39:42 PDT - Personal
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Another Gadget Drool

HP is releasing a new updated high end calculator. Now, I have absolutley no need for something like this any more. I still prefer using RPN for basic caluclations, but as to all the high end features... I haven't really needed or used any of those sorts of things, except maybe a handful of times, since I graduated with my Physics BS in 1993. But it still looks sweet... I have fond memories of my HP48SX, which I still have, and which back in college ran my life, as I used it not just as a calculator, but a PDA, and many other things. I had all sorts of wonderful things on it. I still have it now, but due to a tragic drop onto the floor in 1994 without a recent backup available, none of my old fun stuff is still there. But the memories are still there! :-)

New HP49G+ Calculator

(via Slashdot)

Abulsme - Mon, 4 Aug 2003, 09:15:01 PDT - Tech
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Volleyball Pictures

I was the ref for this set of games a couple of weeks ago. Publishing beat the Print Buyers three games in a row. Oops. Since I was ref, I couldn't take pictures during the actual games, but here are plenty as people practiced between games and hung around for a bit.

Publishing vs Print Buyers Volleyball!

Abulsme - Mon, 4 Aug 2003, 06:21:29 PDT - Personal
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Sun 03 Aug 2003

Cabinet Reshuffles

Apperantly Powell has indicated he is done at the end of this term.

State Dept. Changes Seen if Bush Reelected (

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his deputy, Richard L. Armitage, have signaled to the White House that they intend to step down even if President Bush is reelected, setting the stage for a substantial reshaping of the administration's national security team that has remained unchanged through the September 2001 terrorist attacks, two wars and numerous other crises.
(via Calpundit)

But I don't think this is actually a big deal. Well, the fact that he is signalling it this early perhaps shows another insight into the obvious tension between Powell and the neocons on many issues and Powell's frustration with that. But as I posted as a comment at Calpundit, it is standard operating procedure for presidents to reshuffle their entire cabinets between terms. The whole cabinet submits their resignations, and the president reappoints who they want where they want, which is usually significantly different than the first term.

Abulsme - Sun, 3 Aug 2003, 20:55:32 PDT - News
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Updated 2003Q3 Random Trip Info

Just added a little new random trip info to the Idaho trip page.

2003 Q3 Random Trip

Well, who is coming and when we are going is now set.  On this random trip I will be accompanied by Chad, Marilyn and my cousin Seth.  The dates that turned out to be best for everybody were around Labor Day, so people could save on vacation days.  We'll be going from August 30th to September 7th.   Which means we will miss the great Mackay BBQ festival.  But that is OK, there will be plenty of other things to do.

Abulsme - Sun, 3 Aug 2003, 10:34:58 PDT - Personal
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The Nature of Time

This looks very cool. This article is pretty vague and handwaving. I'd like to see something more detailed or the actual paper sometime. It looks like a very interesting approach. And is exactly the kind of turn it on its side "duh why couldn't I think of that" sort of thing that challenges basic assumptions and leads to new cool stuff. Or it could be a bunch of nothing. But interesting anyway.

Ground-breaking work in understanding of time

In the paper, "Time and Classical and Quantum Mechanics: Indeterminacy vs. Discontinuity", Peter Lynds, a 27 year old broadcasting school tutor from Wellington, New Zealand, establishes that there is a necessary trade off of all precisely determined physical values at a time, for their continuity through time, and in doing so, appears to throw age old assumptions about determined instantaneous physical magnitude and time on their heads. A number of other outstanding issues to do with time in physics are also addressed, including cosmology and an argument against the theory of Imaginary time by British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

(via Slashdot)

Abulsme - Sun, 3 Aug 2003, 08:56:37 PDT - Science
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Fri 01 Aug 2003

And the winner of the Tivo is...

I send the email to people about the new house and the address and everything and then leave for a few hours, and when I get back there are several things about the Tivo in my email, and posted in the comments here on the blog...

So lets go in reverse order, last to the party first...

23:07 UTC - Erica

Hello Sam!  Can I please have your tivo?  I'll love you always, even after the 6 months are up.  I grew to love Tivo while staying with Rebecca and Chris and the past 6 months have been bitter television hell without it.  You wouldn't believe how hard it is to watch commercials and miss Judge Judy. 
Ass kissingly yours,
But, Erica was not in the lists of qualifying people I mentioned, she has sent me almost no email in the last year. Actually, I think this was indeed the first email I'd gotten from Erica in the last 12 months. Perhaps in several years actually. She was sucking up well though... But this was of no import, because someone got in before her...

22:51 UTC - Al
Did I have to specifically mention your unknown Blog?
And before that Al posted a comment here:

22:49 UTC - Al
Am I too late?
Both of which were follow ups to his first email...

22:46 UTC - Al
Did I miss out on the free TiVO?
But alas, Al, you did miss out on the free TiVo, because you were not first. One person beat you.

22:23 UTC - Reb
Dear Sam,

Does my poor starving college student little sister qualify for the free Tivo offer? She loves our Tivo but she can't afford it right now. She can't even afford food. Maybe if she had Tivo, she would forget about how hungry she is always.


p.s. I'm digging your new site design.
Now, Rebecca herself does not qualify under my rules. Because she already has a Tivo. But she threw in a twist. She was not asking for herself, but was asking for her poor Tivo deprived sister Erica... Rebecca herself wanted to spread the joy of Tivo. Rebecca who once thought Tivo was a huge waste of money. And maybe still does, but her heart still goes out to poor Erica, with no Tivo! :-)

And, Rebecca complimented the blog, and became the first person to notice it and comment on it! Well... not quite actually. Lynn and Randy and Erikas and Brandy were first... but close I guess. She was fifth! And she said she was "digging" it.

Rebecca was the first one to respond to the free Tivo offer. And while she already has a Tivo, she offered it up to someone who did not. And then Erica herself added her own appeal on behalf of herself a few minutes later (although after Al).


The Tivo goes to Erica!!! (via Reb)

Congratulations Erica!

I'll be back down in the DC area in mid September. Probably the weekend between the 16th (my birthday) and the 22nd (my dad's birthday). I can bring it down then. But that is a long time away. I can box it up later this week probably while I'm packing other stuff to move and mail it down if you would like. Or you could join your sister when she comes to visit my new place at some undefined point in the future. You just let me know.

I'm actually assuming mailing it is the way to go. Email me and let me know where I should send it. Oh, also let me know if you have a cable box it will need to control. If so, there might be an extra bit I left at my dad's that you'll need (the IR controllers). Otherwise I have all the bits you need.

Anyway, congratualtions Erica! Enjoy the next six months of Tivo! :-)

[Six months after it actually gets to you of course.]

Abulsme - Fri, 1 Aug 2003, 19:30:45 PDT - Tech
Permalink and Comments [1 comments]

Who Wants a Free Tivo? (For Six Months Only)

Yes, if you are the first to respond to me about this post, then I will let you use my old Tivo in your house for six months. (Its in great shape despite being a couple years old.) Monthly charges fully paid by me. With an option to buy it and keep it at the end if you want. But, some conditions...

First of all, anybody finding this coming from a search engine or whatnot, sorry... this is a personal offer just to people I actually already know in real life. So if you don't know me, have never met me or exchanged personal emails or phone calls with me, forget it. :-) In fact, I'll go further than that. The only people eligible are the people behind the email addresses sending me the most email in the last 12 months worth of my email contest (including people who didn't actually make the top ten) and as an added bonus to local people, the top 20 email addresses amoungst people living or working within 40 miles of me , even if they didn't make the global top twenty. Although MAYBE if someone I know personally who didn't make those two lists asks and makes a really good case, I might consider it.

Anyway, here is the deal. As of earlier today, I finished upgrading my Dad's house to a couple of DirecTivo systems, replacing the Series 1 Standalone Tivo that they (mostly my little sister) had been using, and I had been paying the monthly fee on. Since they would no longer be using it, I took it back. But I also have a DirecTivo system, and don't need a stand alone. (At least I hope I don't, if I can't get the DirecTV to work at my new place I'll be pretty upset... anyway...) I have an extra Series 1 Stand Alone Tivo. 30 hours at the lowest quality setting, less on higher settings. (I never expanded the storage on this Tivo.)

In the interest of promoting Tivo (I love Tivo) I will *lend* this Tivo to someone for six months, during which I will continue to pay the monthly fees. Thus one of my friends or family who does not currently know the joys of Tivo can experience them. At the end of those six months, the person in question can either give me back the Tivo (presumably to buy a new one of their own), or take over paying the monthly fees and pay me 80% of the going rate on ebay for that model (used), and become the proud owner of that Tivo.

Only other condition besides making the email lists mentioned above is that the person can't ALREADY HAVE a Tivo. And they must email me asking for the Tivo, referencing this post on my blog. Cause I'm not going to mention this directly in email to anybody, you need to find it on my website and ask about it. I am about to (within an hour) send out an email to the people on the email lists I mentioned above about me moving and my new address and such, which will have a link to the pictures of my new house which is on this site, so maybe someone will stumble onto this that way. :-) [Closing in less than 10 days now! Woo!]

If you're local (within 40 miles of me), I'll bring the Tivo over and help get it set up. If not, I'll get it to you some other way, then help you go through setup over the phone if you need help.

Anyway, who will notice this and ask for the Tivo first? We shall see!!

Oh yeah, if you actually don't know what a Tivo is, look here.

Abulsme - Fri, 1 Aug 2003, 13:34:00 PDT - Tech
Permalink and Comments [1 comments]


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